1 John, Part 11

Home » Sermons » 1 John » 1 John, Part 11

1 John chapter five, a great section of scripture. John, if you remember, we’ve highlighted, this 1 John 2:28, 1 John 4:17, John picks up on this theme in this book. Remember, he’s an old man. He’s near the end of his life. He wants to see Jesus’s people just continue to thrive in him. And so he’s writing this book, this last words of his life, encouraging us in our pursuit of the Lord together. And he picks up on this word, in 1 John 2:28, he starts talking about your confidence before God. And in 1 John 4:17, he wants you to be confident at the appearing of God. He doesn’t want you to shrink away, but he wants you to delight about thinking about the opportunity of seeing God face to face one day.

What that’s going to be like for you, the combination of your faith as you are now in the presence of God. And so he takes this idea of confidence and really get into chapter five, he starts dealing with how our confidence wanes based on our circumstances. You ever been in a place where you start to say something and you want other people to sort of affirm it? And you start saying it and you realize no one’s saying anything about it and you’re sort of just telling this story that just goes flat? Like you halfway through the story and you’re like, why am I telling this story? But you can’t stop the story now cause you gotta get to the end of the story because now that you’re at the halfway point. You start feeling weird because no one affirms that, right?

Or worse than that, you experienced something, you see something and then the people around you described the exact opposite of that story? And before long, you start looking at what you’ve gone through and then what other people are saying, how they are affirming the opposite or not affirming it at all. And you kind of feel crazy, right? You’re like, “Everyone else seems to be in a different camp than me. I am I the only one? I feel isolated. I’m nuts!” You need someone to affirm where you’re at. And John is doing that in this passage of scripture. He’s starting off in verse six, he’s saying, look, people aren’t always going to agree with your stand in Jesus, right? But here’s where you need to come back to as the basis for your life. So that when other people might make you feel like you’re crazy, you realize that what matters is Jesus and you rest in this foundation, that it’s not you.

And so John starts this, in 1 John 5, he wants to root us in the foundation so that we’re confident, not in just our appearing before Jesus, but we walk confident in life. And 1 John 5:5, he called you conquerors. So if you’re a conquerer and you just kind of walk around like you don’t belong, or you don’t fit in, and it’s not in that victory of what Jesus has done, that doesn’t look very conquering, right? So what what John is saying is, look, you are a conquerer, and now I want you to live out that spirit of a conquerer in this world. You don’t have to prove anything to anyone because of what Jesus is for you. And so this becomes the foundation for you to rest in. 1 John 5:6 ,and when John starts to write this verse, I want you to know we’re going to walk out of here just so smart as a church, right?

We don’t want to puff ourselves up, but theologians describe this verse as one of the most complex verses in the New Testament. And we are going to knock it out of the park, okay? 1 John 5:6, John says this, “This is he who came by water and blood. Jesus Christ, not by the water only, but by the water and the blood. And the spirit is the one who testifies because the spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify, the spirit and the water, and the blood and these three agree.” Now what are we talking about? John wants us to be confident and I’m not even confident in what he is saying. How do you figure it out this passage? The first question we want to answer is, okay, John, what are you saying? Well, clarity in this passage is that this section is definitely talking about Jesus, right?

This is definitely talking about Jesus and under the identity of Jesus, John gives these illustrations to boost our confidence. And what John is playing into is the idea that in Jesus’ day, in Old Testament culture among the Jewish people, you could not make an accusation against someone unless there were two or three witnesses. Deuteronomy 19:15 talks about that. It’s mentioned multiple times in scripture. Common law for the Jewish people, to make an accusation against someone, a charge against someone, you had to have two or three witnesses. Even Jesus, when he was on trial, they tried to get these witnesses to agree against Jesus, but they couldn’t even find two people to stand up against Christ. And they found it difficult to bring him to the place of crucifixion. And so by Jesus’ his own pronunciation, he makes a claim to Deity and then he’s crucified.

And so what John is saying in this passage is, look, in order for any testimony to stand, it needs two to three witnesses. And you may be in your life, you may be the only Christian in your family, right? And you’re going to have witnesses that might be opposed to what you do, or contrary to what you do. And it sort of isolate you, kind of leaving you out in no man’s land by yourself. But what John is saying is, look, here’s a testimony that is greater in which you need to root yourself. And he describes it as water and blood and spirit. So while we have the testimony of people, what John wants you to identify yourself rather is in what God is saying, water, blood and spirit. So what exactly does that mean? Water, blood and spirit.

So when you think about your foundation, this is what we say in Christianity, if you’re new to the Christian faith, if you’re exploring the Christian faith. The Christian faith is a journey. You don’t make the decision to follow Jesus and then know everything you need to know, right? The Christian journey is a growth process, as you choose to follow Jesus, God grows you in Him. You don’t know everything. But here’s what you do need to know: you need to know Jesus. Everything in Christianity hinges on this, and this is where John’s going to go. I will say this, that when you come to ABC or I encounter people in this world and they call themselves a Christian, I’m glad people want to wear that label. I’m glad they’re favorable to that label. But honestly, I don’t care. And the reason I don’t care is because there are lots of people that call themselves Christians that don’t even know what a Christian is.

They just wear the label. And then what they mean by it is they like Jesus. Like, that’s great you like Jesus, but so to Muslims and Muslims don’t want you to call them Christian. That’s insulting to them, right? And so it’s not whether or not you call yourself a Christian that makes you a Christian. It’s what you believe about Jesus. Jesus is the foundation. And so the more important question we can ask ourselves is, who is Jesus? And John is identifying Jesus in these terms. He’s talking about the water and he’s talking about the blood. So what is John referring to in this? Well, he’s referring to Jesus’ ministry. Jesus exists, and walked on this world for 30 years and at the point of 30 years, the Bible tells us that he goes to the Jordan River and he’s baptized by John the baptist.

And during that baptism, the gospels records this in multiple locations. But in Mark, you can read it this way. It says,”In those days, Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan immediately coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens open and the spirit like a dove descending upon him.” By the way, Jesus was baptized, you should be baptized. “And a voice came out of the heavens and it says this, you are my beloved son in you I am well pleased.” So what you see in this story is Jesus is beginning his public ministry through baptism. This baptism is representing the anointing. Affirming Jesus as the Messiah who is to come to save the world. He’s the rescuer that Israel has been waiting on. The promise through Abraham, that through him all people would be blessed. And what you see at Jesus’s baptism isn’t just merely Jesus going in the water, out of the water, but the Spirit descending upon Jesus and anointed him for that ministry.

And so what John is identifying the water and the blood, is he’s thinking about the entire picture of Jesus’ ministry. And he’s historically rooting our lives in an event. So when you talk about people in regards to faith, a lot of people base their faith off of feeling. And I’m not saying, for Christianity feeling is excluded from our lives. If God made you a being with feeling, that’s great. I think that’s wonderful. I hope you delight in the feeling that God gives you. But we don’t follow Jesus because of feeling. We follow Jesus because of this event. His coming into this world and his death and his resurrection. Our faith is rooted in an event. When you read about these apostles like John writing 1 John, John is the only apostle who did not die the death of a martyr.

He was persecuted. He was thrown into exile. At one point, they tried to boil him alive and somehow he survived that boiling even though he got thrown in. But when you look at the lives of the apostles and you say, okay, apostles, why did you give your lives for Jesus? As you read the New Testament, you find that they don’t say, you know, it’s because I felt like this really felt good. No. What they rooted their identity in was the death, burial, and resurrection. The Apostle Paul said, if Jesus has not been raised from the grave, we’re to be pitied most of all. Jesus at his resurrection from the grave, that historical event is the basis for our faith. And so what John is saying is, look, when the world wants to rock you, when the world may be running counterintuitive to what you proclaim, remember, remind yourself beyond the feeling of that rejection from people.

What you’re rooted in, your identity is in this event. When you look at the coming of Jesus and the proclamation of the spirit as it descended upon him and God the Father speaks over him. This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased. And then you get to the end of Jesus’s life and you see his blood. Symbolized in his death and his resurrection. That event, that’s where you rest. You think about the power of His blood. Romans 8 says this, “And if the spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his spirit who lives in you.” So John is saying, look, there’s water, there’s blood and there’s Spirit.

Now think about it. Those are kind of a weird words to just to throw out. Just these words, water, blood and spirit. You had the idea of water baptism, affirming Jesus. Then this idea of blood, like what do you stand on as a Christian? Blood. It’s weird. Blood. But think about this, just how powerful this is. We read this in 1 John 4, the love of God made known through his sacrifice. The Bible calls is sinners, right? Alienated from God, really in rebellion against God. We curse God and what does God do? He sacrifices himself for us. Like someone cuts me off on the street and I’m having a hard enough time not think about ramming my car in the back of him, right? But we curse Jesus and he dies for us.

That blood. What a gift, right? Beautiful thing. And what testifies to all that is the spirit. You see the spirit of sending on Jesus at his baptism. You see the spirit resurrecting in Romans 8, Jesus from the grave. And now the Bible promises because of Jesus’s resurrection, the spirit will resurrect you. But not only that, in 1 Corinthians 3:16, 1 Corinthians 6:19, the spirit of God lives in you. I can remember when I first became a Christian, I was in college and I remember going back to my roommates and explaining this to them. It felt so weird to me. I felt like this change happened to me and I was so excited, I just want to share it with people. And I remember just processing it and coming out of my mouth, saying it out loud and I just feel like someone has kidnapped my body.

Jesus has changed my life. “I followed Jesus guys!” They’re looking at me just like deer in headlights. But I could not stop telling them. The change that God had made in my life. They’d asked me questions like, hey Nathaniel, we’re going to go watch the, I was at a college with a sports team in the top 25 at the time, we’re going to go to the game, tailgate. You want to go? I’m like, no. I think I would rather stay in and read my Bible. Is this me? God changed my life. And when you think about the spirit of God, that’s what the spirit of God does in us. It changes the desire of your heart. I can even think as a kid, if you asked me what books I read as a kid, maybe a few, like a Shakespeare one that the teachers made me and Lord of the flies or somethng. But when God changed my life, I became a tenacious reader. I probably read close to 100 books a year. Just about the Lord, wanting to know more, just growing and, and learning. But the spirit of God resonating in my life.

And what John is saying is look, when life rocks you, when others stand against you, this is where you root yourself. And then he goes into why. Verse nine he explains to us why. He says, “If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater.” Let me stop right there. He’s going to go say this: people’s opinions matter. People’s thoughts matter, right? When we go through things in life, we need a place to share that experience, that testimony, the validation of connecting what happened to where I am. This word testimony, it can also be defined, “before a judge, under oath,” that this type of testimony. And so he’s saying, look, we received the testimony of man, that’s good. That that matters to us, right? What people think about us, it matters to us. How people perceive us, that matters to us. But what John wants us to do is he wants to put it in perspective. There’s the testimony of men, but there’s also the testimony of God. And that needs to speak far louder into your life than what others say.

So we you see the testimony of men and then the testimony of God, he says it’s greater. “For, this is the testimony of God that he is his born concerning his son.” So he talks about the testimony in verse 9. He’s going to give this parenthetical statement in verse 10, and then he’s going to go back to the idea of testimony. He wants to say look, testimony of God’s greater (verse nine) and he’s going to explain to a little bit more so we can get the punch in verse 10. Listen to what he says, “Whoever believes in the son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testament of that God has been born concerning his son. So he just says this, look, God’s given you a testimony. And if you ignore that testimony and you make other people’s testimony more important than God’s testimony, and their testimony disagrees with God’s testimony, you’re calling God a liar.

So it’s just saying, just think about the weight that you put on things in this world. Because you definitely don’t want to call God a liar. And if God has done this for you and it’s this important that God himself would give his life for you, then you need to rest in this as preeminent above everything else in life because God’s testimony is greater. And then he says this, “And this is the testimony.” God’s testimony is greater. It’s preeminent. And I think John has wanted us to experience that. I think in chapter four especially. He talked experientially for us to just understand why his testimony is greater. So that when we get to this phrase and he says, God’s testimony is greater, we’re not asking the question, oh, how so? How is God’s testimony greater than others? What John did previous to this, if you remember, is that John shaped our identity of God. Remember that in chapter four? We love because he loved? God, is love. His perfect love casts out fear. Those pictures of a God who is for you to the point that he would come and give his life for you, even in sin and rebellion opposed to him. Like when you have nothing to offer God, to reconcile a relationship where you’ve offended a holy God, God still pursues you.

God’s testimony is greater. Think about it, people just fly their opinions out all the time. I can tell you one of the worst positions you can have in life, without really resting in God’s testimony is a pastor. Because you get a lot of people’s opinions about things. And they don’t even think, just shoot it off. “You suck for this reason, pastor.” You guys don’t do that, right? But I’ll get an email, whatever, it’ll come. And here’s where I go to. I moved my family across the country, from friends and family I love, because I believe Jesus makes a difference. And doing ministry in Utah, I could listen to the opinions of people, but honestly, what I really want to do is swing for the fences. When I meet Jesus face to face, I want to know I gave it all for His glory.

And the way that that works for my life is, people’s opinions and then Jesus. When I want to think about what people have to say, in the end, really what matters to me is I want to please Jesus. I could be faithful to what everyone else wants me to be or I can be faithful to what God calls me to be. I want Jesus’ opinion of me to matter far beyond what the world says. I want Jesus. Jesus’ testimony is greater. And what helps me walk so confidently in that testament, that’s what God wants. He wants you confident in this: His love. A healthy theology of God makes us more confident, when I see God for who he is. Perfect love casts off here. God is love. I love because he loves. That concern that God has for my life, makes me confident. Not only does a healthy theology of God makes me confident, truthfully, a healthy theology of God makes me a better lover. And I mean that in every sense of the word. A healthy theology of God will make you a better lover. And the Bible says that we love because he first loved.

When you walk around in this world worried about where you are and who you are, it’s difficult to think outside of yourself, right? You want people’s affirmation and praise because you’re not even confident in who you are. But when you understand who you are and in light of who God is, the one who made you. I think you walk far more confidently in this world because your identity is secure in him. And when your identity is secure in him and you’re confident in that you’re able to love better because you’re not focused on you and just trying to get that need met because everything you need is met in Jesus. And so what John is saying to us in this story is his testimony is greater. We need to consider this and then let’s play it a little harder. That if you ignore this, you’re calling God a liar, because what God has lavished on you is so extravagant. It’s better than anything this world can offer.

So when you think about testimony of people, which is important, you don’t want to undermine people, but don’t let it resonate louder than the testimony of God in your life. And root yourself in the historical event that Jesus has accomplished for you. His water, his blood. That’s not an arbitrary statement. That is a personal declaration for your life on his behalf. It needs to be as intimate as we can make it. So then here comes the question, all right, so we build the idea of testimony. What is this testimony? I think about that. People bear their testimonies? What is God’s testimony? Well, it tells us, verse 11, “And this is the testimony that God has given us eternal life and this life is in his son. Whoever has the son has life, whoever does not have the son does not have life. God’s testimony: have Son, have life, don’t have Son, don’t have life.

One of the unfortunate things I think we do with this testimony sometimes, and let’s just say this is not us, Christians arbitrarily, that we don’t even know that do this. God has given us eternal life and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the son has life. I think sometimes what we do is we mistakenly read this and say whoever has the Son gets to go to heaven when they die. We think in terms of life, that’s what we define it as. Whoever has the Son gets to go to heaven when they die. If that’s the way you read this, I want you to know that is an unhealthy trajectory in your Christian life. Whoever has the Son gets to go to heaven when they die. That’s not what Jesus is saying at all. That can be a result or that is a result of believing in Jesus, but that is not the goal.

That would be a horrible goal. Think about this guys. You come to church today, you put your faith in Jesus because in maybe 50 years from now you’ll get to be with Jesus. What about those 50 years, right? What about everything in between between now and the day that you’re in heaven with Jesus? Jesus is saying far more in this story. John saying far more in this, that simply when you put your faith in Jesus, you get to go to heaven when you die. He’s saying, whoever has the Son has life. And that word, “life” is right now. It doesn’t begin one day. It begins today. So here’s the way we think about life. When the Bible talks about life, sometimes it literally means life and that sometimes it means a person’s born in alive and a person dies and they’re dead.

But when the Bible talks about this in a spiritual realm, life and death mean more than simply you’re born and you die. Life and death talk about you in relationship to God. Meaning, if you read this in other passages of scripture, look at this. Isaiah 59:2 it says this, but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God and your sins have hidden his face from you so he does not hear you. So Bible is saying, look, your sins have put a wedge between you and God. And what the Bible goes on and describes that as is death. Because Jesus himself is life. And if you’re not connected to Jesus, you’re dead., So you can look at that and be like, you know, I’m not really dead. Here I am living and breathing. You know, I experience things. I have a have a great life. I go through all the gamuts of emotions from love to joy. I’m not dead. What are you talking about?

Well, what he’s saying is, yes, you’re created as a spiritual being, but because of sin, even though you’re a spiritual being, you’re separated from God. That in itself is death because you’re not connected to the one who is life. And you can do all the religious things in the world, but there is no connection there because you can’t have a connection as long as there’s sin. What are you going to do about sin? And the answer is Jesus, right? So if you read this in Romans 6:23 it says this, for the wages of sin is death. So separation from God, without Jesus we’re separated, right? But then it contrast that to life. But the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

So the free gift of God comes the moment we trust in Jesus. We escape death because Jesus paid for our sins and we have life. And here’s how we know we have life. The Bible tells us the spirit of God dwells in us. 1 Corinthians 3:16, 6:19. If you put your faith in Jesus, the spirit of God dwells in you, therefore you have life. In the Bible, we’ve read this in Romans 8:11 also promises that as your earthly life ends, because you have spiritual life, God will resurrect you into an eternal life that that is now and forever. And so when the Bible talks about death, it’s not saying to us you’re going to die one day. When the Bible talks about life it’s not saying you’re going to get to heaven one day. It’s saying, the moment you trust in Jesus, that’s when life begins because you’re connected to the one who gives life. And this is a very significant thought to the expression of this text. This is the testimony God’s given to us. And this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life. Whoever does not have the Son does not have life.

It’s saying this: the reason I think we misapply this verse and we say, you know, whoever gets the Son gets to go to heaven when they die. I think the reason we misapply this verse is because we wrongly think the goal of this life is to get to heaven. The goal of the Christian life isn’t to get to heaven. So we can experience that one day. Our goal is to be with Jesus so we can experience him today.

When you’re with Jesus, the result is you can be in heaven or you will be in heaven. That is the result. But it’s only because the goal is Christ. Sometimes we get so crazy with heaven that we even divorced the concept of Jesus or just treat Jesus like a bellboy. Meaning, I want to get to heaven. Who’s going to take me there? Jesus. I’ll just take Jesus so I can get to heaven, which is my ultimate goal, but heaven without Jesus isn’t heaven. And what makes heaven is Jesus. And the reason Jesus makes heaven is because he’s life. And so that life doesn’t begin the moment you get to heaven, that begins the moment you trust in Jesus, because the goal of life is Jesus and the result happens to be heaven. The reason that’s important is because it also contrast with the other thought, which whoever does not have the Son does not have life and people get all bent up out of shape over that.

You mean? I don’t get to go to heaven because I don’t have Jesus? Well, if you think the goal of eternity is heaven, then yeah, I can see where you get the bent out of shape over that. But the goal of eternity isn’t heaven. The goal of eternity is Jesus and heaven just happens to be where he is. What makes heaven, heaven is his presence. But what you’re saying is wanting heaven apart from Jesus is really you’re not wanting heaven at all because he makes heaven, right? So if you don’t want, Jesus, it is simply saying this, that God won’t force you there.

God doesn’t force you to his presence. God invites you to his presence, but if you don’t want it, he won’t make you. So John’s just simply laying this out for us very, very specifically. So we just say, even in religious terms, if you come from an environment where you may be the only one pursuing Jesus. In John’s day, people are coming to the apostle John and they’re teaching in the church. Well that’s great. You’ve got Jesus, but you need to add all this religion or you’re not going to be in heaven. Religious people will do that. Oh, you got Jesus. Well, if you don’t follow these rules, you’re going to be damned forever. And then all of a sudden we get worried. Is my eternity secured? Can I confidently say I’m going to be before God? Do I even have life?

And the answer is this, whoever has the Son has life. The Bible uses the word often “believe in” or “trust in.” Meaning, I’m leaning into with all of your way out of everything in this world you can trust and even yourself and your religious performance. It’s letting go of all of that and trusting in Jesus. Saying, Jesus paid it all and that’s all that needs to be paid. So here’s John’s encouragement. He says in the end, I write these things to you who believe in the name of the son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.

What God wants is for you to be confident. Jesus loves you. He’s lavished his love on you. His whole life was about you for his glory. He didn’t have to do that. He didn’t need you, but he wants you. And he gave his blood. When we curse the people that cut us off, he took on the curse of on himself for you. Let the testimony of God overpower the opinions of others because the testimony of God is greater. How do you know God wants you? He is love. This message is simple for us, but it’s expensive for Jesus. His grace is free to us, but it costs God his life. You may not know everything you need to know about Christianity, but if you know Jesus, you’re on your way. That journey begins by dying to self and taking Christ. Lay aside you, lay aside religion and walk with Jesus. And Christians, can I tell you? That journey continues the same way. I said in the very beginning, what is the key to the Christian life? Really two things. Two things to grow in this. Get in God’s word and know Jesus. And share that in community together so you can see the life of Jesus made known.

1 John, Part 10

1 John, Part 12